Wonderful trip to Liverpool. Yes, a bonding exercise, going with No. 1 (and only) son to watch your favourite football team and sinking a few pints of Guinness together on Saint Patrick’s Day. But also, to me, a nostalgia trip: a return to the city where I was born. Alsop’s, where I went to school; St. Nicholas Church (flattened by the Luftwaffe early in World War II) where my parents married while my Dad was on special leave before going back to the trenches in World War I; Exchange Station where he worked; the Pier Head from which we used to sail to Ireland, or across the Mersey to New Brighton; the theatres to which my parents used to take me; and so on.
Great match. As Everton manager David Moyes said after the game, ‘going in at half-time three goals up was a new experience for me’. (A half-time at which, thanks to No. 1 son, my birthday was greeted over the PA system.) Eye-watering stuff - it matters not that they came out in the second half looking for a while as if they had swapped shirts - Villa inspired, Everton dire. But they got it back together and went on to win.
I guess teams and families are similar in a way, strength in adversity and such: Everton was the club that nurtured Wayne Rooney until he got so good they couldn’t keep him. But when he left, instead of going under without him, they got better – they became a team again instead of a support system for Rooney.
Ah yes, and for anyone who might have been in outer space, the result: Everton 4, Aston Villa 1, which puts us in top half of the Premiership table. Saint Patrick smiled: thanks Paddy for great weekend.